U.S. reiterates objection to China’s name-change demands

The U.S. Department of State repeated its objection to China's demand Tuesday that private airlines must change their designation of Taiwan, one day before Beijing's name-change deadline of July 25.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert reiterated at a regular press briefing that the U.S. government is opposed to demands by governments upon private enterprises.

She said she was not aware of any American companies that have given in, but advised reporters to contact firms directly to ask about their stance.

China's Civil Aviation Administration sent a message to 44 foreign air carriers April 25, demanding that they not refer to Taiwan as non-Chinese territory on their websites, a move described by the White House in May as "Orwellian nonsense."

Beijing set a final deadline of July 25 for the changes, threatening penalties. Lately, the Chinese bureau said publicly that only six carriers are applying for a delay for the changes.

The resistance to China's list includes American Airlines (AA), United Airlines (UA), and Delta Air Lines Inc. The three American carriers had all given in to Beijing's demand as of the July 25 deadline.

A check of their websites shows that the companies now list only airport codes and cities, but not the name Taiwan to indicate the country or region they are located in.

Beijing claims Taiwan as part of its territory and objects to symbols or names that suggest that Taiwan is independent from China.

Asked by CNA via e-mail about China's demand, a spokesperson of the Department of State replied that the Chinese government is well aware of the U.S. position, which is strong objection "to China's attempts to compel private firms to use specific language of a political nature in their publicly available content."

"U.S. airlines should not be forced to comply with this order," the spokesperson said, adding that "we object to Beijing dictating how the U.S. and other non-Chinese firms, including airlines, organize their websites for ease of consumer use."

Meanwhile, Dan Blumenthal, director of Asian studies at the American Enterprise Institute, described China's name-change demand for airlines as classic "economic coercion" that harms the U.S. and its allies.

The Chinese communists are using this demand as a means to carry out their "China Dream," Blumenthal said in a written testimony to a subcommittee hearing, titled "The China Challenge, Part 1: Economic Coercion as Statecraft," at the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Tuesday.

In the testimony, Blumenthal labeled Taiwan as "ground zero" for China's coercive economic activities. There, the Communist Party of China pressures international companies to not identify Taiwan by name, in an attempt to erase Taiwan as a separate entity from the global "mental map," he said.

Examples of these include apologies from the Marriot business group and Delta for including "Taiwan" on the list of countries in which they operate, Blumenthal added.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel